What is it about Deviled Eggs that makes them so popular? I have yet to attend a gathering (office potluck, family gatherings, any social gathering with food) that the Deviled Egg in some form doesn’t make an appearance. Perhaps it’s the versatility of the Deviled Egg – the personal touches that makes each platter as individual as the creator. With an eye to detail, even store-bought deviled eggs can be transformed from ordinary to extraordinary. Just as there are countless ways to make the deviled egg, there are a multitude of platters whose sole purpose is to serve those eggs in style.
I was about ten the first time I made Deviled Eggs. It was a New Year’s Eve party my parents were hosting in the mid sixties. Deviled Eggs were all the rage back then, along with finger sandwiches and cocktail weenies.
While I was too young to attend the midnight gathering of their friends and neighbors, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t there, lurking in the hallway, listening to conversations I didn’t fully understand, hoping against hope that someone would mention my Deviled Eggs. Some did, some didn’t. All I knew was that when the party was over, not an egg was left. I felt so proud of myself. From that day on, I was the official Deviled Egg maker in our house. And the finger sandwich maker while Mom was in charge of all salads that jiggled.
Over the years, my original recipe for Deviled Eggs evolved, as recipes do. The key to deviled egg success is to develop a base egg, a blank canvas from which colors, textures and flavors spring forth. There are two different bases for deviled eggs – one is truly “deviled” using dill pickle juice or wine vinegar at its core; the other is a sweeter mixture, with sugar or sweet pickle juice. While it’s strictly a personal preference, my “core” is of the devilish variety. To deepen the yellow of the yolk, a little mustard may also be added. Different mustards will impart different color and texture. A basic yellow will give a little kick with a deep yellow color. Dijon will bring more bite with a paler yellow. Stone ground mustards bring more texture to the palate. The yolk filling can also be colored with the simple use of yellow food coloring without changing the natural texture or flavor.
Let’s start with a base and go from there . . .
Ingredients – Basic
14 Eggs, hard-boiled
3/4 Cup Mayonnaise
3 teaspoons mustard or to taste
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar or to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Tip: Boil 2 eggs more than required to fill serving tray. The extra eggs give more yolk filling, the extra whites allow for tasting and adjusting seasonings if necessary.
To Boil eggs, place eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a full boil. Remove from heat, cover and let rest for 12-14 minutes. Drain, then plunge eggs into ice-cold water to cease the cooking process. The results will be a perfectly cooked egg with a sunny yellow yolk.
Tips for Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs: Once eggs are cool enough to handle, roll gently on counter to crack shells. Place into cold water, refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from water and peel. Water will work its way into shell, the result is an easily peeled egg.
Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks and place yolks in food processor with mixing/chopping blade. Place 12 white halves on serving dish or egg platter. Select best of the halves.
Mix/chop yolks until fluffy and are fine grade resembling bread crumbs. Add mayonnaise and mustard and mix until creamy. Mix in red wine vinegar one tablespoon at a time and season to taste.
Fill the egg white halves with yolk mixture. For “fancy” eggs, place yolk mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe mixture into egg halves. Chill for several hours before serving.
Depending upon what is added to the basic yolk filling, additional seasonings can help to enhance the filler itself. Taco seasoning added to an avocado-yolk or Jalapeno base would be a great change from the salt and pepper variety. Seasonings should compliment the rest of the filling ingredients. Here are just a few examples:
Cayenne Pepper, to taste
Garlic Salt, to taste
Lemon Zest, 1 lemon
Lime Juice, 2 teaspoons
Italian Seasoning, to taste
Onion Powder, to taste
Taco Seasoning, to taste
While the basic filling is delicious, it is also a blank canvas for so much more. Avocados not only add a creamy richness to the yolk filling, they also change the color itself. Let your imagination be your guide. Experiment and get creative.
Beyond Basic Yolk Filling
Avocados, 2 small ripe, mashed
Capers, 3 or 4 Teaspoons, rinsed and finely chopped
Dill Relish 3 tablespoons
Ham, 1/2 cup finely ground
Jalapeno Peppers, 2 seeded, finely chopped
- Avocado Deviled Eggs – Cut avocados in half and spoon flesh into the bowl with the yolks. Process the yolk-avocado mixture until smooth. Sprinkle with lime juice to preserve the avocados. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Pipe or spoon filling into egg whites and garnish as desired.
- Caper Deviled Eggs – Rinse capers and finely chop. Add to yolks BEFORE adding additional ingredients. Pulse/process until fine in a food processor before adding mayo. Continue with basic recipe. Spoon filling into egg whites and garnish as desired. Additional whole capers are a nice touch, letting guests know what type of filling it is.
- Dill Deviled Eggs – Replace vinegar in the basic filling with dill pickle relish. Continue with basic recipe, adjusting seasoning as desired. Garnish with dill fonts.
- Deviled Ham and Eggs – Grind ham to a fine mill using a food processor fitted with a blade. Add yolks and process until well blended. Continue with basic egg ingredients. Use a large tip star or spoon to fill egg whites with mixture. A nice garnish would be crumbled bits of bacon.
- Jalapeno Deviled Eggs – Seed and finely chop jalapeno peppers. Add to yolk, process in food processor fitted with a blade. Continue with the basic egg filling. Spoon mixture into egg whites. If desired, garnish with additional sliced jalapeno.
Garnish is the last touch to make deviled eggs pop. Store-bought eggs can be so much more simply by adding a garnish for color and flavor.
Suggestion – Garnish
Caviar, domestic black, red or gold
Paprika, sweet or smoked
Red Onion, finely chopped
Salmon, thinly sliced
Shrimp, tales removed
Have a deviled egg of a time!